Phones

5 ways Apple just did its iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch buyers a solid

Commentary: Prices always go up, right? Except when they don't. In some cases, Apple might help you save a buck.

James Martin/CNET
Now Playing: Watch this: Apple's iPhone 7 wants you to cut the cord
1:49

Apple's just-unveiled iPhone 7, dual-camera iPhone 7 Plus, Apple Watch 2 and AirPod headphones give buyers plenty of ways to spend money, but the company also announced some products and pricing that cut us some slack.

iPhone 7 and 7 Plus: No-headphone-jack solutions in the box

The new iPhones drop the headphone jack, which means you either have to plug headphones into the Lightning port (you won't be able to simultaneously charge the phone) or use wireless headphones, like Apple's new AirPods. And, yes, the big-screen 7 Plus now costs more than its predecessor; for example, $769, which is $20 more than the iPhone 6S Plus.

You won't be forced to buy Apple's AirPods. A wired set comes with your iPhone 7 or 7 Plus for free.

James Martin/CNET

But, there's one bit of good news. Apple is easing buyers into the change by including an adapter in the box (in addition to a shiny new pair of Lightning headphones, too). You won't be forced to lump it on your own by buying an adapter, which is also sold separately for $9, £9 and AU$12.

Barring the free case Apple gave away to ameliorate the great Antennagate scandal of 2010, this is the first time in our recollection that Apple's made such a conciliatory move. (Remember the ignominious 30-pin-to-Lightning transition with the iPhone 5? You had to buy those adapters yourself.)

iPhone 6S and 6S Plus: More storage for less

Every year, Apple shaves about $100, £100 and AU$190 off the previous year's iPhone models, keeping them in the line as a nice stepdown option to the new ones. But this year, that price cut came with a storage boost: the company killed off the 16GB model of both phones, and offered 32GB models in their place. Likewise, a 128GB version of each replaces the 64GB one that was available just days earlier. Are we still kinda miffed that you can't throw a cheap microSD card in? Yes. But double the storage for less money? We'll take it.

More iPad storage for the same price or less

Continuing Apple's trend, the 16GB options of the older iPads are gone, replaced by 32GB versions. 128GB versions cost less than they did before, and 12.9-inch and 9.7-inch iPad Pro prices have dropped a bit at higher capacities, too. More details here. Just don't hold your breath for an 8-inch tablet like the new Fire HD 8 that Amazon unveiled today for $90, £90 and about AU$115 (the converted price).

Now Playing: Watch this: Jet black iPhone 7 vs. matte black iPhone 7 Plus
1:57

Apple Watch: Cheaper but faster

The Apple Watch Series 2 may be right around the corner, but the original Apple Watch gets a new lease on life, too. An updated version, dubbed the Apple Watch Series 1, will debut alongside the sequel. The Series 1 lacks the Series 2's true waterproofing, GPS and brighter display, but it includes the same updated processor, which is said to be twice as fast as that of the original pokey 2015 Apple Watch model.

The price, meanwhile, now starts at $269/£269/AU$399 (for the 38mm model) and $299/£299/AU$449 (for 42mm). Both are less than the $299 (38mm) and $349 (42mm) entry-level retail prices that have been in effect since March, when Apple first dropped the price of the Watch. (You can find the now discontinued first-gen model for as low as $199 -- albeit with that slower processor.)

Apple Care+ takes the sting out of cracked screens

Cracking a screen won't cost as much to fix anymore with Apple Care+, Apple's extended warranty for iPhones. In the US, for example, you'll now fork over $29 instead of $99. That's a huge, $70 savings for those who opt into the program. There is one catch, though. Apple will charge $99 as a blanket fixing fee for anything else, whether the phone is a current generation or not (older-gen devices used to cost $79 to fix).